All We Grow (Bonus Track Version)
Sean Carey was so bowled over with Bon Iver’s debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, that he listened obsessively to the record and met Bon Iver main man Justin Vernon on tour. Carey convinced Vernon to put him on drums as Vernon developed a full band. This is Carey’s first solo outing, and All We Grow virtually glows with the same kind of delicate ambiance that bewitched fans of For Emma. Carey’s musical interests include both jazz and percussion, and the album feels strongly influenced by modern classical music, with its expansive, architectural palette. The blinking piano notes on tracks like “In the Stream” and “We Fell” confirm Carey’s reported passion for minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass, and Carey’s controlled, monochromatic vocal planing on “All We Grow” is a study in restraint. Sounds of oboe, strings, keyboards, and weightless percussion are tucked all around Carey’s breathy vocals, and on some tracks, like the blissful “Mothers,” the simple voice/guitar combo is mesmerizing. Carey’s intent is clearly in evoking a mood rather than carving a hook, and All We Grow ebbs and flows with a divine range of contemplative tones.